From its humble beginnings at the Caetani house gardens to its two-year stopover at Cenotaph Park in downtown Vernon, Midsummer’s Eve of the Arts has seen a few changes over its 28 years.
It all started when the late artist Sveva Caetani hosted a few of her friends to show their artwork on her Pleasant Valley Road property.
The event would go to become the Vernon Public Art Gallery’s main fundraiser of the year, featuring both a live and silent auction of work by the Okanagan’s top artistic talents.
Over the years, literally hundreds of people have gathered to nosh on locally prepared delicacies, sip on local wines and other refreshments, bid on art, and rub elbows with friends, neighbours and colleagues in a garden party atmosphere.
Although the venue has changed once again, this year’s event on Wednesday, July 16 features all that Midsummer’s magic.
Now presented with the help of major sponsor Predator Ridge, the gallery is getting ready to host its second Midsummer’s Eve at its new home at Turtle Mountain Winery.
“Guests will delight in spectacular views of Okanagan Lake and the surrounding vineyards,” said VPAG executive director Dauna Kennedy Grant. “The Midsummer’s Eve of the Arts benefit event is the perfect opportunity to celebrate the Okanagan art scene while enjoying the amazing landscape and local fare.”
This year, the VPAG is also offering a shuttle service to and from the event. The shuttle leaves the Schubert Centre starting at 6 p.m. and free parking is also available on-site at the winery located on Agnew Road off Bella Vista.
Once arriving, MEA guests can enjoy a variety of gourmet appetizers and desserts by four different local businesses: Olive Us, Monashee’s Bar and Grill, Cracked Pepper Catering and Gumtree Catering.
Beverages are being provided by Okanagan Spring Brewery, Gray Monk winery, Okanagan Spirits and Starbucks Coffee.
All that can be enjoyed while listening to the sultry blues and jazz of local act Kath and the TomKats, who will be creating a soothing atmosphere for guests to mingle before and after the live art auction.
And then there’s the centre attraction, the art.
World champion auctioneer Don Raffan, of Valley Auction Ltd., is donning his best cowboy hat to call out the bids in his rapid-fire banter, while Betty Selin of Sun FM is once again serving as emcee. The event also features a silent auction.
“We have over 80 submissions of art and specialty packages in the live and silent auction. Everything from large-scale paintings by international renowned artists, to luxury accommodation packages, there is a lot to choose from,” said Ruth Hoyte, VPAG board member and MEA chairperson.
“Midsummer’s Eve of the Arts is the art gallery’s largest fundraising event of the year and the proceeds support the outstanding exhibitions and programming the gallery offers to the public each year. Come out and show your support and enjoy a great night out.”
In addition, a raffle ticket draw for a painting by Jane Everett, valued at $3,500, will take place at 9 p.m. Raffle tickets are $10 each, and are available in advance at the gallery and at the event.
Those wanting to see the art in advance also have the opportunity at the gallery’s annual general meeting and art auction preview, taking place this Thursday from 6 to 8 p.m. at the VPAG.
Those who attend can meet and show their appreciation to the artists who donated work to support the gallery and also bid in advance on a piece of work if they are not able to attend MEA, said Kennedy Grant.
“We can’t say thank you enough to everyone who contributes to making this event happen,” she added.
Tickets for MEA are $50 each, available for purchase at the VPAG, 3228 31st Ave., by phone at 250-545-3173, or online at www.vernonpublicartgallery.com.
Raffle and event tickets are also available at the Friday Night Fights at Predator Ridge’s main lodge, with a wine tasting from Parallel Estates, July 11 from 5 to 6 p.m., and also at the Downtown Vernon Association’s Avenue Market on 30th Avenue, outside of Practical Kitchen and Scotia Bank, July 11 starting at 4 p.m.